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Oxidative stress: Mechanism of cell death clarified
Date:9/3/2008

Pharmacological and reverse genetic analyses showed that lipid peroxides in GPx4-depleted cells do not appear by coincidence, but accumulate due to increased activity of a specific enzyme of the arachidonic acid metabolism, the 12/15-lipoxygenase. Activation of apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), evidenced by its relocation from mitochondria to the cell nucleus, was identified as another important event in this signaling cascade.

The fact that oxidative stress is a major inducer of cell death is a well accepted current model. Until now however, the source and nature of the reactive oxygen species has remained obscure, as have questions concerning the way they act. Marcus Conrad: "So far, it was assumed that oxidative stress is detrimental to cells by unspecific oxidation of many essential biomolecules, such as proteins and lipids. That is why we were amazed to find that in cells lacking either glutathione or glutathione peroxidase 4, a distinctive signaling pathway is engaged, which causes cell death. The data represent the first molecular analyses of a redox-regulated signaling pathway, describing how oxidative stress is recognized in the body and translated into cell death".

Since this cell death cascade can be interrupted at any single stage with the help of drugs, this pathway harbors promising targets for therapeutic intervention to mitigate the deleterious effects of oxidative stress in complex degenerative human diseases.


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Contact: Heinz-Jrg Haury
presse@helmholtz-muenchen.de
49-893-187-2460
Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen - German Research Center for Environmental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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